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Category Archives: Society

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How rational is our behavior?

Rationality is the state of being reasonable. It is decision making process, based on our intuition to weight the benefits against the costs and to maximize our utility. With past experiences in our pocket and all available information at hand to make a rational decision, we still divert from this behavioral pattern. Is decision making only based on external factors or is there a deeper explanation to it? Could it be possible that our genetics are part of the reason for our rationality or lack thereof?

Economen bootcam

Job Hunting

Some months ago, I wrote about my adventure of studying Spanish in Valencia. At this moment, I am back in the game. Back in the Netherlands and deep into the process of searching for jobs. The student life is really ending right now. A new adventure may start soon, hopefully! The question is: how do you find out what you want to do? One of the things to do is visiting InHouse days. So, that is what I did on Wednesday 18th of January. Early in the morning I took the train to The Hague. Off to the “Economen Bootcamp” of the Dutch government.

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Why do we donate to charity?

It is almost December! December is one of my favourite months. I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of the cold and the rain. What I do love though is Sinterklaas, Christmas and New Year’s. Just spending time with family and friends. It is the month of celebrations and the month of giving. One of the big events in the Netherlands is the glass house of 3FM Serieus Request, where everybody listens to music and donates money. Last year they collected an amount of 8.466.249 euros! But why do we donate money to charity?

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Dating tips from a Behavioral Economist

Still single? Maybe you should use some economic theory to solve your problem. There are many theories on human decision making which can be applied to your dating life.  In the field of behavioral economics there is the well-known phenomenon called the asymmetric dominance effect or the decoy theory.   This theory suggests that when people are confronted with a choice between two options they have a hard time making a decision. However, adding a third option that is inferior but also similar to one of the options makes the first decision much easier. Namely, the option that is similar to the inferior option will be preferred by most people.  This effect is called the decoy effect because the third option will never be chosen and is therefore just a decoy.

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Stay Connected (or not?)

In 1994, the first commercial smartphone was available. It could send and receive faxes and emails and had an address book, calculator, and even a touch screen display. Since 1994, there have been many developments in this area. And the past decades,  smartphone usage has gone up tremendously.  Almost everyone in the western world owns a smartphone. But should you stay connected?

TTIP

TTIP, a non-economic trade agreement

In 2013, EU governments gave the European Commission a mandate to negotiate about TTIP, a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the European Union. When starting, the two parties thought the negotiations would progress quickly. Now, three years later, the negotiation process seems to become long-lasting. Besides the European Commission, the European Parliament, business and trade unions, consumer-, health- and other public interest groups and the general public at least think they have something to say about TTIP. The negotiations turned out to be much more than just negotiations about economic terms. What are the different aspects of TTIP for our European Union?

taxes

Do we really hate paying taxes?

Most of the students among us don’t mind it when the Dutch IRS provides us with the opportunity to pay our income taxes.  On the contrary, young people usually get some income taxes back which they have paid in advance and students receive (taxfree) study grants. In fact, I would not be surprised if the tax on beer consumption is our biggest fiscal contribution.  But as soon as you work fulltime and you didn’t succeed in starting a fictitious company in the British Virgin Islands, your annual tax declaration will be a painful experience. Are such often-heard complaints really true?